After playing second fiddle to ‘international’ brands in the 3G market, Indian brands too are now starting to come out with their own big-screen 3G devices.
As for the customer, the rates being offered are around 10%-15% cheaper than those of foreign brands, though variety is quite restricted, with just one or two models with each vendor.
While the biggest Indian brand, Micromax, announced a 3.2 inch A70 last week with a price of around Rs 7,600 (online) Karbonn, perhaps second only to Micromax, too has jumped in with a 2.8 inch model called A1, at a price of Rs 7,000.
Though Karbonn A1 claims to have broken the price barrier etc.; 3G phones, including those from big brands, are available in the market for as little at Rs 5,000-6,000.
However, unlike other cheaper models (like Samsung Star Nano, priced at Rs 5,849 on Letsbuy,) the Indian models are based on the Android operating system and are more similar to ‘smart phones’ than feature phones such as the Star series.
The presence of Android also opens a new world of possibilities and excitements thanks to the applications market-place. The two phones are perhaps the cheapest Android phones in India, launched in the last 3 to 4 months.
In addition, while the starting 3G phones come with displays in the range of 2.4 to 2.6 inches, the Micromax A70 (successor to its first Android phone A60) has a 3.2 inch display. Though it may not be comparable to the 4.3 inch displays of models costing more than Rs 20,000, for a cash-constrained buyer looking for a smartphone experience, the two models come close.
While the Micromax A70 has a capacitive touch-screen, the Karbonn model has the older and less sensitive pressure-based (resistive) touch screen. Both, however, have high-speed 3G (7.2 Mbps), WiFi, 600 MHz processor and Android Froyo 2.2.
The A70 has a 5 megapixel camera as well as a front-facing one for videcalling, whereas the A1 has only one 3.2 inch camera, at the back.
In all, the A70 looks like better value for money, though the Karbonn A1 price may fall slightly by the time the newly-introduced phone hits shop-shelves in most of the cities, qualifying it as the cheapest Android phone in India with Froyo on it.
Most of the Indian brands use chips from Taiwanese manufacturer Mediatek and get their products contract-made in China.